Chicago - June 23

Actionable Marketing Education: For SEOs, By SEOs

Avoid the crowds. With a speaker:attendee ratio of 1:18, you'll get guaranteed face time with SEO speakers from Google, Grainger, Walgreens, Searchmetrics, CareerBuilder, The Tribune, The Home Depot. Learn, network, and bring your toughest questions at SEJ Summit Chicago.

What is SEJ Summit?

SEJ Summit "A Day of Keynotes" is a unique conference experience tailored for search marketers.

The event features a single track of vetted, keynote-style presentations given by industry experts and over three hours of high-quality networking opportunities.

We have you covered all day. Catered meals (a continental breakfast, sit-down lunch with speakers, refreshment breaks, and a networking reception with full bar and tray passed hors d'oeuvres), high-speed internet, downloadable speaker presentations, and gifts from participating sponsors will be provided.

No sales pitches, product demos, or sponsored content is permitted during SEJ Summit sessions. Our top priority is to provide an actionable, impactful, and memorable experience for you.

Why Attend?

"I enjoy going to big conferences, but the 1,000+ other attendees make it so hard to get the high-profile introductions I really want."

SEJ Summit Chicago has one of the best speaker-to-attendee ratios, hands down. One speaker for every 18 attendees. Our audience max is 200. Know what that means? If you want to talk to Gary Illyes, Erin Everhart, Amy Vernon...YOU CAN. No more giving up at the sight of a speaker mobbed by 50 attendees.

"My company is stuck on what to do about Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)."

Learn directly from the source, or get the chance to speak face-to-face with SEJ Summit keynote speaker and Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, Gary Illyes, about your AMP challenges.

"I'm in need of compelling evidence to convince my SEO team that audience engagement is a huge driver for our campaigns' success"

Then you won't miss Daily Dot's Amy Vernon. She will share how and why SEOs should be concerned with audience engagement in 2016.

"I like conferences, but sometimes I feel like my brain is fried at the end, and as a result I don't learn much."

Studies show the average attention span is about 20 minutes. SEJ Summit's format is tailored to reduce "conference fatigue" and optimize knowledge retention with strict 20 minute sessions. We push our speakers to reduce their content to only the most critical elements: actionable takeaways you can count on one hand.

"My boss is pressuring me to improve conversions."

Take in new ideas to try at work from The Home Depot's Erin Everhart during her session "The Psychology of Marketing", or ask her a question at her speaker lunch table.

"My SEO efforts are plateauing. I need new tactics to try."

Our speakers are on the cutting edge of what's working (and what's coming!) for SEO. Attend 8 intensives plus a panel to learn more about the changing SEO landscape.

"I want to have discussions with peers and experts about tactics to better my business."

Join a speaker lunch table for industry discussion, conversation, and meet peers who are facing your same challenges.

"I need to make managing my big site more efficient and easier."

Ask speakers Carolyn Shelby, Ryan Jones or Jordan Koene about what's working now (and what's not) in managing complex, very large Fortune 400 sites.

"I need new ideas on how to make our huge and complex site faster."

Speaker Carolyn Shelby of Tribune Publishing, will walk you through her best practices in site tuning large domains like The Chicago Tribune and the LA Times.

"I want to attend an industry conference, but I can't get away for 4 days!"

In less than one working day, you'll learn from 12 SEO and marketing experts. You'll connect with a speaker of your choice at their lunch table. You'll meet and connect with peers at our networking reception. No flights, no hotel rooms, no fuss. Your boss will hardly notice you've left the office.

"I need to ask an SEO expert about a challenge I have at work."

Ask the experts your most difficult questions during our many Q&A sessions and networking events.

Speakers & Panelists

Gary Illyes
Webmaster Trends Analyst
Erin Everhart
Lead Manager, Digital Marketing
Carolyn Shelby
Director of SEO
Ryan Jones
Manager of Search Strategy & Analytics
Akin Tosyali
Director, Digital Marketing
Brent Csutoras
Chief Social Media Strategist
Amy Vernon
Director of Audience Engagement
Jordan Koene
Chief Evangelist
John Curtis
SEO Manager
Allison Fabella
Senior Manager, Media Strategy
Jori Ford
SEO Expert & Digital Marketing Consultant
Kelsey Jones, Emcee
Executive Editor

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Navy Pier

600 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611


Showcase your brand as an industry thought leader, and get in front of our community of search marketing professionals. Download the full sponsor prospectus here. Interested in sponsoring Chicago only? Download a la carte sponsorships here. Questions? Email for more information.


Our day of learning and networking includes a single track of eight 20 minute sessions and four Q&A panels. Sales pitches, product demos, and sponsored content is prohibited during sessions to ensure that you receive a high-quality educational experience.

9:00 - 10:00 AM

Registration & Breakfast of Champs

10:00 - 10:25 AM

Google & AMP – A Better Mobile Experience

Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, Gary Illyes, will explain what’s next for Accelerated Mobile Pages and what it means for big data.

Gary Illyes
Webmaster Trends Analyst
10:25 - 10:45 AM

Tune Up Your SEO

Do you field dozens of requests from your team to add “just one more beacon” or “one more tracking pixel” to your site for yet another random piece of software that you probably don’t need? Every single extra call, extra ping, and extra script decreases the speed and performance of your site. Carolyn’s session will cover the importance technical SEO and speed/performance tuning and how it can help you build a mean, lean SEO machine.

Carolyn Shelby
Director of SEO
11:00 - 11:20 AM

20 Minute Break – Refreshments served

11:20 - 11:40 AM

Is Your Brand Missing Out on Reddit?

With over 150 million visitors viewing over 6 billion pages a month, Reddit is simply one of the best opportunities to connect directly with your brand’s target audience. As a Redditor for over 8 years who has run thousands of successful campaigns, Brent will break down recent examples of big brand successes on this hyper-engaged social platform, and run through ideas for your own brand’s Reddit strategy.

Brent Csutoras
Chief Social Media Strategist
Search Engine Journal
11:40 AM - 12:00 PM

Surviving the Search Plateau: 3 Tactics to Bring Your Website’s SEO Visibility to New Heights

After following all best practices and fine-tuning your strategy, many businesses find their SEO plateaus. Jordan’s session will help you break free of that plateau and take your site to the next level. By igniting your content, expanding your reach, and recycling good SEO habits, you can re-energize your search effort to put your SEO visibility back on the up-and-up.

Jordan Koene
Chief Evangelist
12:15 - 1:15 PM

Sit-Down Lunch with the Speakers
Lakeview Terrace

1:20 - 1:50 PM

30 minute AMA “Ask Me Anything” Panel Featuring:

Gary Illyes
Webmaster Trends Analyst, Google

Erin Everhart
Lead Manager, Digital Marketing, The Home Depot

Amy Vernon
Director of Audience Engagement, The Daily Dot

John Curtis
SEO Manager, Walgreens

Allison Fabella
Senior Manager, Media Strategy, Careerbuilder

Kelsey Jones
Search Engine Journal
1:50 - 2:10 PM

The Psychology of Marketing

Erin’s session will dive into the psychological side of marketing. She will discuss what types of emotions trigger purchases, how UX experience relates to how we market, and how all of these issues can be implemented into your SEO strategy.

Erin Everhart
Lead Manager, Digital Marketing
The Home Depot
2:10 - 2:30 PM

Lessons From the Newsroom: Why Search and Social Should Utilize Principles from Journalism

Amy Vernon of Daily Dot looks at search and social through the lens of a journalist and explains how key strategies for success in the newsroom can be applied to digital marketing. She will also share how and why SEOs should be concerned with audience engagement in 2016.

Amy Vernon
Director of Audience Engagement
Daily Dot
2:45 - 3:05 PM

20 Minute Break – Refreshments served

3:05 - 3:25 PM

The Future is Today: How Machine Learning is Changing Search

Can machines learn to create organic answers – outside of what they have been explicitly programmed to do? Ryan answers this question and explains how Google is using machine learning to change the face of SEO.

Ryan Jones
Manager of Search Strategy & Analytics
3:25 - 3:45 PM

Integrating SEO & Content Strategy To Exceed Customer Expectations

SEO and content marketing shouldn’t be an either-or game. Working together, these two strategies become the killer recipe your brand needs to succeed. Using real-life examples from his experience at Grainger, Akin will walk us through how his team implemented a data-driven SEO strategy into their digital content process to give their customers what they want.

Akin Tosyali
Director, Digital Marketing
4:00 - 5:00 PM

Networking reception
Lakeview Terrace Rooftop


of Champs

Start your day early with us. Get to know speakers and fellow attendees over a hearty breakfast, or get some work done with the complimentary WiFi.

Sit-Down Lunch
with Speakers

Claim your chance for 1-on-1 time with a speaker of your choice during our intimate, catered sit-down lunch. SEJ Summit speakers and panelists will each host a table for up to 10 attendees.

Happy Hour

Make more friends after the conference, or get to know new ones better. We'll top the day off with a hosted happy hour reception equipped with a limitless bar and tray passed hors d'oeuvres.

Brands Attending SEJ Summit

SEJ Summit 2015 Attendees Included


Who should attend SEJ Summit?

  • SEO professionals
  • Individual consultants
  • Digital marketing managers
  • Digital strategists
  • Content strategists
  • CMOs
  • Agency folks with enterprise clients
  • Anyone involved in, or planning major digital initiatives

Where can I purchase a ticket for SEJ Summit?

On our eventbrite page.

What does my ticket include?

Admission includes catered meals: continental breakfast, sit-down lunch, refreshment breaks, and networking reception, as well as high-speed WiFi, access to speaker presentations, and gifts from participating sponsors.

What will the day be like?

Sessions will run from 10:00AM to 3:00PM. Each presentation is limited to 20 minutes and will be followed by a 10 minute Q&A. Catered breakfast, lunch, and breaks will be provided. We’ll top off the day with a cocktail networking reception so you can mingle with speakers and other search marketing pros.

What will the content be like?

Content is tailored for the professional search marketer. Topics covered will include: SEO, paid search, social media, content marketing, CRO, UX, Google happenings, actionable tips on linking, and how to make things happen in house. Check out presentations from our 2015 conference series here.

Can I speak at a SEJ Summit?

To be considered, please email a brief bio and content sketch to Subject line: SEJ Summit Speaker Inquiry

How do I become a sponsor?

To learn more about how your company can be a featured sponsor, send an email to Subject line: SEJ Summit Sponsor Inquiry

If you have additional questions about SEJ Summit 2016, please send an email to Event Director, Jessica Cromwell: